On July 4, 2013, my mom and I watched the coverage of the Peachtree Road Race on t.v. We were taping it because my sister-in-law was running it for the first time. I watched how approximately 60,000 people got their race on in the early morning of a very patriotic day, as thousands in Atlanta cheered them on to cross the finish line. At that time, I had never run a race nor could I if I wanted to. I was severely overweight and out of shape and didn’t know what to do. But what I did do was something cray cray bananas: I swore that I would run the Peachtree next year. My mom gasped. I quickly tried to take it back, but it was already out there. The universe took hold and never looked back.
In August of 2013, I started my now infamous wack-a-doo diet. By January of 2014, I was 80 pounds lighter and beginning to jog. I became an Atlanta Track Club member so that I was guaranteed entry to the Peachtree. Still, it was 6 months away at that point. I had plenty of time to talk myself out of it. But here’s the even crazier part: I didn’t want to stop. Jogging took hold of me like few things have (I’ll throw yoga into that mix) and I started to really really love it. It became something I looked forward to (this was clearly before it became oven-hot in Georgia) and I felt weird when I didn’t jog. So did I make it to the Peachtree this year? You’re damn skippy I did!
On Thursday night, I couldn’t really sleep because I was dreaming about running. I felt like a kid before a big test; nervous and excited to see what it was like. I got out of bed at 5 am on Friday and got ready for the big show. I had no trouble taking MARTA to Lenox and finding my place. As it got closer to race time, the crowd started filling in, and it was so overwhelming to see this many people for a race. I had NO idea what it would look like in person! What was most shocking was the amount of spectators on the side of the road, cheering people on with signs, beer, and treats. Seriously, nothing makes me go faster and farther than people cheering on strangers. It gives me a slight lump in the throat.
I was in the “P” division. As we’re getting closer to the start line, my adrenaline started flowing and I almost get choked up: I realize this dream was a year in the making. I did wish I was running the race with a friend, because it was a really cool time. But, I made this goal by myself, so it was kinda fitting that I did the race by myself. When we started, I jogged for about 3-4 minutes before I could move over to the right. Side note: to all the people who do races, you must MOVE TO THE RIGHT if you are walking. That’s just being courteous. You know how on a highway the faster traffic is on the left? It’s the same in a race. Even though I had my pace timer and was jogging and walking, I stayed to the right the entire time. People will hate you less, I promise.
There were hilarious costumes, t shirts, and signs on the race. People were so amazing and handing out such great things. I was lucky enough to snag a piece of watermelon from this adorable girl at one point, and it was like rain during a drought. It seriously kept me going. I knew I shouldn’t, but I did grab an icy cold beer from someone. It was DELICIOUS. I only took a few sips, but it was amazing.
I knew that when I turned onto 10th street there was only half a mile left, but it was like entering a HUGE party. People were everywhere and they were all cheering for us, which made me so excited. I felt like I could go forever! I mean, not really. I was hot and sweaty and tired. But that last leg really made my tail wag. I fly through the finish line at pretty much the exact time I thought I would finish. This race wasn’t about finishing quickly, it was just about the goal of finishing at all! After all was said and done, I now have two friends that will do it with me next year. Yay!
After the race, I had to EAT and DRINK. Like, for reals. I hit up the Mellow Mushroom for vegan pizza and beerz (I also ate a salad there, but that’s clearly less exciting). For the 4th of July festivities, Decatur seemed like the place to be. Victory Sandwiches not only has Jack-and-coke slushies, but they also have chorizo tofu tacos (I got them without cheese) that I nearly cried over. Decatur’s fireworks were amazing and the night was super fun.
The weekend ended with a glorious impromptu summer cookout with some of the most delicious food we’ve have. I made veggie kabobs, and there was spinach salad, burgers, salmon, grilled corn, grilled pineapple, and angel food cake with berries for dessert. It was a smorgasbord of summer goodness! And let me just say, if you haven’t sliced pineapple up and thrown it on the grill, you need to hop on that. IT WAS SO STUPID. It didn’t make any sense. I was also able to harvest a ton of jalapenos and a (hopefully) delicious tomato from my garden. What a great weekend!